(Stellendam, Netherlands)- With more than 120 boats on the start line, the Van Uden Reco Stellendam Regatta promised to have lots of action and fun for the offshore sailing season opener in the Netherlands. Traditionally, the event is marked by an enormous fish fry and beer party where the local fisherman host the event, cooking up all kinds of local delicacies, including even lobster! Plus, the sponsor Pantaenius ensure there's plenty of beer on hand for the sailors to wash down all the yummy seafood!
The predictions regarding the weather promised a weekend full of sun and plenty of breeze. Whether there would still be enough wind Sunday was the real question on everyone's minds as the weekend unfolded.
On Friday afternoon the Stellendam Marina slowly filled with all kinds of one-design class boats ready for a race weekend at the Haringvliet. For most sailors the regatta was a short drive, but the Van Uden Reco is worth it! For the J/22 fleet, two German teams looked forward to joining the party on and off the water and traveled to Stellendam. On Friday, it was cold and windy, so many teams launched, went for a quick practice sail then came back in to refuel, stay warm and prepare for up to eight races on the schedule.
Despite the crazy weather this year Saturday dawned quite warm, so woolly hats were substituted with long shirts and caps to shield everyone from the warm sun. It soon became apparent that the wind forecasts were wrong. The prediction was a Force 5 11-15 kts wind. There was enough wind to get off four races and the sun made it a perfect sailing day! After a long, exhausting, but fun day on the water, the sailors all looked forward to the massive outdoor cookout on shore with ham, hamburgers, fish fry and plenty of beer. A good time was had by all as the sun sank further behind the shed and the temperature dropped (it was freezing at night!).
Unfortunately, predictions regards wind on Sunday came truer than anyone hoped. With plenty of sun in the sky, the wind was hard to find! However, it began to blow a little more in the course of the morning and the sailing teams were sent onto the water. It was a good decision, because not much later there was a breeze at Force 3-4! At noon was the first start for most classes and courses. For the J/22s, the fleet managed to get in three short races. However, the offshore boats had less luck, barely getting in two to three good races (depending on the course), leading to many boats simply dropping out due to lack of wind.
In the IRC Class, the three J/111s made the best of the conditions, particularly on Saturday's windier day. As a result, finishing 2nd in IRC was XCENTRIC RIPPER- John van der Starre- sailing to a 2-1-1-2-5-5 record for 11 net pts. Also sailing but having a hard time on the super-light Sunday were SWEENY (Hans Zwinjnenburg) and LALLEKONING (M Sigg).
In the ORC classes, the J/105 JIPPA was sailed by Andre Zijderveld in ORC2. And in ORC3, the J/80s were having fun with a "sub-fleet" one-design competition amongst each other. Leading the J/80s in 4th was JOT (M Menck), second J/80 lying 6th in fleet was nJOY (Coen van Even) and third J/80 was DJ (OJ Golverdingen).
The J/22s had some spirited racing, especially on the windier Saturday. The nearly windless Sunday jumbled the standings as different teams excelled in one condition versus the other. Taking the top spot after finishing Saturday in third overall was BIG LIFT/ Happy Future (Nico van der Kolk), sailing to a 3-6-4-4-1-2-2 for 22 net pts. Just two points back after a slow start on Sunday was BIG LIFT/ Happy Star (Jeremy Moens), recording a scoreline of 5-4-5-1-5-3-1 for 24 pts. Third was BATAVAIA STAD (Christian Rieckborn) with a 2-1-6-7-7-5-4 record for 32 pts. Rounding out the top five were JOLLY JUMPER (Ivo Jeukens) in 4th with 34 pts and in 5th was DE KANTOORBUTLER (Stan Heltzel) with 37 pts. Note, after the first day, Heltzel was the regatta leader with a 1-5-1-5 but got DSQ'd in race 5 on Sunday to hurt their chances at a podium finish. For more Van Uden Reco Stellendam Regatta sailing information